Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI)
The Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI) was launched on 29 May 2012 by the British Foreign Secretary, William Hague. The full announcement is here.
It aims to strengthen and support international efforts to respond to sexual violence in conflict - including by enhancing the capacity of countries, institutions, and communities to support survivors and end impunity for perpetrators. A key part of this initiative has been to provide expertise in responding to sexual violence in conflict through the creation of a multidisciplinary Team of Experts (the ToE).
Established by the Stabilisation Unit (SU) on behalf of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), this unique team consists of more than 70 experts. It brings together specialists in Gender Based Violence, Criminal Lawyers, Specialist Investigators, Sexual Offences Examiners, Psychosocial Specialists and Social Workers, as well as Retired Police Officers with experience in criminal investigations.
As the Team is to be ready at all times to deploy speedily and effectively overseas, the SU manages the Team on a daily basis- keeping security clearance up-to-date, ensuring hostile environment training, sharing PSVI updates and maintaining regular contact with the experts so that they are fully prepared for immediate deployment.
Since the inception of the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative, the SU has deployed experts to a number of conflict-affected and fragile countries. Their tasks and activities have been varied, demonstrating the value of the unique multidisciplinary nature of the Team.
- In Libya, a team of experts consisting of a Gender Based Violence specialist, a Psychosocial specialist, two Criminal Lawyers and an experienced Senior Police Officer conducted a scoping mission on how tackling sexual violence could be integrated into wider Security Sector Reform (SSR).
- On the borders of Syria, two Senior Police Officers worked alongside an NGO to provide training on the documentation of Sexual Violence Crimes to a network of health professionals working with Syrian refugees.
- In Bosnia and Herzegovina, a Criminal Lawyer and a Psychosocial specialist worked together training local judges and prosecutors on international law and the treatment of sexual violence cases. They also provided recommendations on further support in processing war crimes cases and providing structured support services to survivors.
- In Mali, two civilian experts have joined the European Union Training Mission (EUTM) as Civilian Protection Specialists offering training to the Malian Armed Forces (MAF).
The SU will continue to deploy experts to these countries, and others, to fulfil the needs of the FCO Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative. This includes effectively adapting the capability of the Team to match the evolving requirements of the Initiative - such as greater training needs, and increased work with women’s human rights defenders (See G8 Foreign Ministers Declaration April 2013).
Get a feel for the work: See the EUTM Mali website for the latest on the SU deployed expert under the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative.